Book launch: The developer's dilemma

Special session in the Jobs and Development Conference

The developer's dilemma: special session in the Jobs for Development Conference

During the 6th IZA/World Bank/NJD/UNU-WIDER Jobs and Development Conference, a special session focuses on the key findings and policy lessons from UNU-WIDER's new Open Access book: The developer’s dilemma.

UNU-WIDER Director and editor of The developer's dilemma, Kunal Sen, offers an introduction, sharing the conceptual framework and main findings of the book. Francois Steenkamp provides a summary for the South Africa case-study, and Nomvuyo Guma brings in a policy perspective. Haroon Bhorat, co-author of a chapter in the book, acts as chair. 

About the developer's dilemma

The developer’s dilemma - Structural transformation, inequality dynamics, and inclusive growthco-edited by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Andy Sumner, and Arief Anshory Yusuf, reflects on the challenge that developing countries face during periods of economic development —the tension between building a productive economy and the unequal distribution of the benefits of economic development.

Economic development theory, associated with Kuznets, Lewis, and others, suggests that the process of structural transformation —when production transitions from lower-productivity to higher-productivity activities— leads to upward pressure on inequality, at least in the short term, because economic development processes start unevenly.

Drawing on case studies from nine developing countries, The developer’s dilemma shows that rising inequality is not inevitable. In depth analysis reveals insights into the pathways of structural transformation and the likely inequality effects —and the specific policy approaches that can best mitigate the increase in inequality.